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The Sedona Red Rock News won six of eight newspaper-wide awards and staff members won six awards at the Arizona Newspapers Association’s 2017 Better Newspapers Contest, held Saturday, Sept. 30, at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino.

The awards were presented at the Arizona Newspapers Association Fall Convention and Annual Meeting.

The NEWS won second place in Arizona for General Excellence, which is determined by adding up all the awards earned in the contest. This year, 49 newspapers and four high schools entered in the contest, submitting a total of 1,463 entries.

The contest consists of eight categories that measure the overall quality of the newspapers and 24 categories that honor individuals. In the Non-Daily Circulation 3,500 to 10,000 category, the NEWS won best Newspaper  Online Site or Web Page took second place for Departmental News & Copywriting Excellence; and third place for Reporting & Newswriting Excellence, Page Design Excellence and Special Section, Newspaper Supplement Or Magazine.

The NEWS’ entries in the Special Section category included the biannual Lifestyles of Sedona magazine, the biannual artScene tab and the annual Red Rock Country History Edition. In advertising, the NEWS won first place for Best Special Section for the same entries. In the individual categories, former reporter and copy editor Andrew Pardiac won Best Headline for “No falling by the wayside” and other headlines. Sports reporter Daniel Hargis won third place for Best Sports Story, for “Softball drops 3 of 4.”

Larson Newspapers swept the Best Feature Photograph category, with photojournalist Hunt Mercier winning first for “Give ’em a reason to run,” which featured a spectator in an inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex costume chasing a Sedona Marathon runner; senior reporter Ron Eland took second with “Back to School,” capturing the embrace of a mother and child on the first day of school, and former photojournalist Jordan Reece’s “Popping young minds” took third. Mercier also won second place for Best News Photograph in the NEWS’ sister paper, The Camp Verde Journal, with “Lead found in Rimrock park water.”

In advertising, the NEWS also won third place for Bes Pro Bono/Public Service ad. The Journal won first place for Most Effective Use of Small Space and Best Classified section and second place for Best Paid Ad Series. In the high school division, Sedona Red Rock High School’s student newspaper, The Sting, won first place for General Excellence. The Sting is written and paginated by SRRHS students of journalism teacher Maureen Barton, and published by the NEWS.

No other news outlets in the Verde Valley won awards in the contest. The New Mexico Press Association judged entries this year.

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